We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Mina Iskander . We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Mina below.
Hi Mina, thanks for joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
I met a lot of resistance along the way especially early on from different sources and the logistics of starting such an organization…One of the bigger issues facing me was the ability to find facilities that would allow us to use their space.
Most facilities had an issue with accepting such a high-risk population of kids and teens in their space due to the high nature of their medical needs.
It took lots of convincing and sometimes begging for some places to allow us entrance…it was for sure a high risk to take on their part, but for us it was a risk worth fighting for…
Over the years, we have been able to build valuable relationships based on trust and mutual respect with several facilities around town. They see the importance and value of the services we provide to enrich our children’s and teens lives, and for that I am very grateful…
Mina, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a physical therapist. I have worked in all settings of Physical Therapy throughout my career. I graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 2007. Following my graduation, I moved to Houston to begin work. I am blessed to be married to my wonderful wife Vivian and we have 3 girls.
In my time as Physical therapy student at the University of Texas Health science center in San Antonio, I was privileged enough to be able to experience many worthwhile activities and situations. One of those experiences was being able to volunteer with a non-profit organization providing sports and recreational programs for kids and teens with special needs.
So, after graduating Physical therapy school and moving here to Houston, I had an itch and a desire to build and start something similar here. So, I started to brainstorm and gather some interest from colleagues about the possibility of forming a 501c3 non-profit organization here to serve our special needs population…
Our organization provides kids and teens with special needs the opportunity to experience joy, pride and freedom through participation in organized team sports and activities. We run our programs year-round with different 6 week blocks of sports, sprinkled in with many recreational activities such as art, dance, different sport clinics and many other educational opportunities. We also provide the kids and their families a chance to attend live sporting events such as Astros, Rockets, Dash and Dynamo games.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
My advice to anyone who is leading an organization or managing a business is to focus on the main goal of why you started the business in the first place. I believe that customer service, although it may be an old school term, is still very, if not the most important aspect of managing a successful business or organization.
I am passionate about helping people and making a difference in children’s lives and I constantly keep that focus in front of my eyes and my team’s eyes as we manage the day to day aspects of why we do what we do.
As far as maintaining a high morale, it’s important to keep a good family type atmosphere among all your co-workers and colleagues, build and cultivate relationships, not only at work but outside of work. It’s important to get to know people, their families and their lives outside of the work environment. That’s where real relationships turn into bonds
If you could go back, would you choose the same profession, specialty, etc.?
If I had to choose again, I would still choose my profession and the type of work I do. I’ve always had a vision in my head about what legacy I would like to leave and what impact I would like to have with the work I do. I have no doubt, that this is what I am supposed to be doing. I get to see kids experiencing something they never thought possible. I get to see the glimmer in their parents eyes while watching their kids achieve something special. I love what I do because I see the difference it makes in our family’s lives. That’s priceless.
- Website: www.soaringkidz.org
- Facebook: Soaring Kidz